In which our resident prognosticators attempt to make sense of the nonsensical: the Golden Globes. Today, we take a look at the film nominees…
Okay, let’s get down to brass tacks.
BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
12 Years a Slave
David: Is there a universe in which 12 Years a Slave doesn’t win the top prize? I see this awards season as pretty cut-and-dry, with Gravity as a clear number two thanks to the technical divisions, but barring some Weinstein-driven backlash…seems like a slam dunk. Am I crazy?
Rachel: You’re not crazy, David. 12 Years a Slave is clearly the best of this bunch, but none of these are the best of the year. That film was made to win awards. More on that, here. (Shameless plug for Mud)
Chase: I think it’s interesting that we’ve had a Historical Drama vs. Technological Wonder race for several years in a row now (think Avatar vs. The Hurt Locker, Argo vs. Life of Pi), and the drama always wins. It looks like we’ll definitely have that again this year with 12 Years a Slave and Gravity, but it’s worth mentioning that Gravity is probably the best of all of these technical films. That said, it’s 12 Years a Slave by a mile.
Sean: I really don’t understand the whole “12 Years a Slave was made to win awards” narrative that has been taking shape the past few months. This is not The King’s Speech, The English Patient, or Titanic. The script may be first-rate Oscar bait on paper, but not so much in execution. Steven McQueen is a respected auteur, but he has never tickled Oscar’s fancy and both of his previous features were thought too vague, aggressive, and artsy to be taken seriously by Oscar. McQueen makes 12 Years a brutal and unflinching depiction of Slavery. Those long takes, tight close-ups, and graphic imagery don’t scream “give me an award” — they dare you to look closer and see how disgusting our own history is. The ending is supposed to be a cathartic release, but instead it holds the audience at a distance. Every step of the way McQueen avoids the obvious prestige choice and makes the film his own way. If another director had taken on the project I could understand the awards-bait label, but not with McQueen on board. I think this is 12 Years a Slave‘s to lose. It’s not the best film I’ve seen this year, but it is the most important and not because awards bodies say so, but because of its bold and realistic depiction of a time in history that Hollywood previously sanitized. With all the of racial and political divisions in this country, this story demands to be seen so that we do not repeat the sins of those who came before us.
David: Well. That settles that.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr Banks
Kate Winslet, Labor Day
Rachel: Cate Blanchett. This is a fantastic category, as it usually is. All of these performances (though I cannot speak of Winslet’s as I have yet to see Labor Day) could win in any other year. Bullock had to keep audiences interested all by herself…I mean, she had the help of space, but otherwise, that’s a very difficult task. Her exposition-laden backstory bothered me, for the most part, and it was the one sour note in Gravity, for me. But Cate is tremendous.
David: Again, Bullock and Gravity are riding shotgun, but this will and should be Cate Blanchett. No question.
Sean: Cate Blanchett gives one of the all-time great performances in Blue Jasmine. It would be a crime if she lost. And the film itself deserved A LOT more love than it has gotten this awards season.
Chase: Sadly, I missed Blue Jasmine, so I can’t comment there. How in the world is Labor Day on this list? Every time I see that commercial it looks like a Lifetime movie. I think Kate Winslet has just finally reached the Meryl Streep plateau of needing to be nominated at least once a year. I’d have much rather seen Adèle Exarchopoulos from my beloved Blue is the Warmest Color. That was the female performance of the year to me. (Now I’ll try to refrain from bringing that film up again.) Based on what I hear I’ll side with you all and set my money on Cate Blanchett, but a big shout-out to Sandra Bullock as well.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years A Slave
Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford, All Is Lost
David: ALL of these actors are incredibly deserving. Elba’s presence is a surprise, but that doesn’t diminish his work — and the final ten minutes of Phillips might be the best of Hanks’s career. But the 12 Years train has left the station, and though McConaughey has picked up a lot of steam in recent weeks, I expect Chiwitel Ejiofor will be making one of his many trips to the podium.
Sean: Ejiofor is great in 12 Years a Slave, and after years of being a supporting player it’s nice to see him in the big leagues. But I think the Globes are going to keep it interesting and Mathew McConaughey will end up taking the award. It’s a great performance in a film that is gaining a lot more traction than anyone expected. The industry wants to hand him a major award, and this will help him on his way to Oscar victory.
Chase: It has to be Robert Redford. There’s literally no All is Lost without him. How he manages to keep people interested in that film is just beyond me. He just has so little to work with compared to everyone else on this list, and he carries the heaviest load. The entire script was only 32 pages long and he only speaks four freaking times! I’m probably fighting a losing battle, but I will shout this one from the rooftops!
Rachel: IMO, Redford gives the performance of his career, but it is not quite the flashy “I-nearly-killed-myself-for-this-role” of Ron Woodroof by Matthew McConaughey. He’s gaining the momentum needed to pull the upset on Ejiofor.
BEST MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Wolf of Wall Street
David: Oh, here we go. I haven’t gotten to see Her or Davis yet — dying to — and while either could sneak in to win, I think the prevailing wisdom is with David O. Russell’s American Hustle. Is it the best film on the list? Not at all. But while the HFPA wants to be hip, it’s not quite hip enough to pick anything else.
Rachel: Of these that I have seen, Nebraska is the film that should win. So it will not. Inside Llewyn Davis has garnered praise from the National Society of Critics, among others, but the Globes love Russell. American Hustle. But I don’t get it.
Sean: I expect I’ll have to suffer through American Hustle taking the award for Comedy or Musical on Sunday. I don’t understand any of the love for that film. Its a blatant Scorsese rip-off about miserable people being miserable for two and a half hours. It’s also the most lifeless con film I’ve ever seen. AND it’s supposed to be a comedy? And in a year where Scorsese is firing on all cylinders with The Wolf of Wall Street, it’s pretty embarrassing that American Hustle is even being considered.
Chase: Add me to the list of people who didn’t love American Hustle. To me, people who say it’s just like Scorsese are the same people who say The Boondock Saints is just like Tarantino. It’s not that I don’t love Russell, I just don’t get this film. I’m an equal fan of both Nebraska and Inside Llewyn Davis, but I just can’t see either of them getting the votes to overtake the juggernaut. American Hustle is the one to beat here.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Julie Delpy, Before Midnight
Greta Gerwig, Francis Ha
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
David: This one could be close. I don’t expect JLD to win for both television and film (would that be a first?), so unless the voters want to reward Streep for simply being Streep, the rising tide for American Hustle will lift Amy Adams’s boat.
Rachel: I wish Amy Adams would win for the countless other times she should have, but this one is, again, going to Meryl Streep.
Sean: This is really difficult. Julie Delpy deserves this, but the character isn’t necessarily likeable and Before Midnight isn’t exactly a comedy. Meryl Streep has won too recently, and most reviews point to this performance being lower-tier Streep. Julia Louis-Dreyfus gives a sweet, subtle, and slightly neurotic performance in Enough Said that sticks with you long after its over, but her co-star James Gandolfini didn’t make the cut, which makes me think there isn’t enough support there. If the Hustle love fest continues at the Globes (which it will), Amy Adams will probably take it for her most inconsistent performance yet.
Chase: It would be easy to settle on Streep. She’s like a black hole for awards, but she just won in 2011. I think the HFPA wants to spread the love a little. I’ll go with Amy Adams and go back to being grumpy about American Hustle.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf Of Wall Street
Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
Joaquin Phoenix, Her
David: This one is about as stacked as the Drama side, which is kind of insane. But barring a sudden push from one of the others, Leonardo DiCaprio should crab-crawl away with it. He’s just brilliant.
Rachel: I would love to see Bruce Dern honored, but Leo is finally in a position to take it. The Oscar race will be way too crowded. Let’s give him his time to shine here.
Sean: Leonardo DiCaprio better enjoy his night because it is likely the only major award he will win on the circuit. It’s a shame, because its the best performance of his career and his commitment to the role makes the other performances look like child’s play.
Chase: I really wish I could wait to see Her before I answer this one. I’ve really got high hopes for Joaquin Phoenix. I, too, would love to see Bruce Dern honored for a brilliant understated performance, but DiCaprio is just too good. He’s seemingly the only thing in Wolf that everyone is happy with, and he’s due. That all adds up to a win. However, I thought Christian Bale was the best thing American Hustle had going for it. This is the one award that I wouldn’t be disappointed to see that film pick up.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Despicable Me 2
David: I don’t know WHAT Monsters University is doing off this list, but even if it was here — and with no Miyazaki, either — Frozen looks unstoppable. As it should.
Rachel: LET IT GO! LET IT GO! Frozen.
Chase: I saw none of these, but by word of mouth it’s Frozen.
Sean: Frozen. Next.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Blue Is the Warmest Color (France)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Past (Iran)
The Wind Rises (Japan)
David: I only know about a few of these, but I highly doubt the HFPA will want to go against Cannes and pick something other than Blue Is the Warmest Color.
Rachel: The Hunt is on my list for the best films of the year, but even as divisive as it is, Blue is the Warmest Color has name-recognition going for it.
Sean: I’m pretty sure Blue is the Warmest Color will take this, but since they left Hayao Miyazaki out of the Animated Film category and The Wind Rises is reported to be his last motion picture, they may just give it to him. The man is a legend and it would be a great moment here, not to mention on Oscar night.
Chase: Earth to Chase! We’ve got a Blue is the Warmest Color nomination! I’ve said everything I need to say on my love for that film. It should win. I can’t wait to see The Past when it gets to Denver. I really think it’s the dark horse here based on what I’ve heard.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years A Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska
David: Lupita Nyong’o gives a powerful and fearless performance in 12 Years, and deserves to be gaining a lot more traction than she is. I love Jennifer Lawrence as much as the next human being, but as funny as she is in Hustle her character isn’t much of a character. Nevertheless, people love watching her give speeches.
Rachel: Lupita Nyong’o is as captivating as Blanchett, this year. I, too, love to see Lawrence give speeches. Just not this one.
Sean: Jennifer Lawrence is a scene-stealing beast in American Hustle. She lights up the screen whenever she is on, but the part is so one-dimensional and barely has any impact on the overarching story. I think Lupita Nyong’o will take it for 12 Years. It’s a breakout, haunting performance and she has the makings of a star. JLaw already is one. The best of the bunch, though, is actually Sally Hawkins who stabilizes Blue Jasmine with humor and warmth. She makes all the opposite choices of Blanchett and the picture is better for it.
Chase: Here’s some love for June Squibb, who is a scene stealing riot in Nebraska. I don’t think she can win, but she should.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Daniel Bruhl, Rush
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years A Slave
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
David: Another brutal choice that isn’t actually that brutal when you get down to it. Fassbender was the early frontrunner, Cooper and Bruhl are fantastic, and Barkhad Abdi would be a bold and fascinating choice — but all the momentum right now is with Jared Leto. To me, it feels like all four Oscar categories are sewn up with Ejiofor, Blanchett, Leto, and Lawrence. You guys disagree?
Rachel: I disagree on Best Actor and Supporting Actress. Jared Leto, however, is a total lock.
Sean: Jared Leto, hands-down. Heartbreaking work. But watch out for Bradley Cooper — it may be obnoxious and over the top, but if they love Hustle as much as I think they do, this win could really shake up the race.
Chase: I’m really surprised here. Jared Leto did not do it for me in Dallas Buyers Club. I really appreciate the difficulty of that transformation and his efforts, but I honestly didn’t think he was that good (Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!). I agree he’s probably the winner, but Michael Fassbender is just too good for me to pass up. Of all the great performances in 12 Years a Slave I thought he was the best. He could be in the next Adam Sandler comedy and I’d probably still think he was great.
BEST DIRECTOR – MOTION PICTURE
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle
David: Let us take a moment to get over the absence of Martin Scorsese, then realize that this might be the tightest race on the board. Who will the HFPA choose — Russell, if Hustle pulls off a near-sweep? McQueen, if 12 Years does the same? I’m going with neither. The right choice, the best choice, is the visionary Alfonso Cuaron. It’s the only way to fairly acknowledge the film in a deep year.
Rachel: The right and best choice is Alfonso Cuaron, though I am a bit worried it will go to Russell. Again, I feel Nebraska is Payne’s best film to date, but Cuaron changed the face of suspense and fear.
Sean: at 71 years old Martin Scorsese remains a fresh, bold, shining voice in cinema. His work on The Wolf of Wall Street is technically astonishing and has the drive and energy of a 30-year-old filmmaker. His absence here is disturbing to say the least. I fully expect the same thing to happen Oscar nomination morning. Its just too controversial and “out there” to make a big mark on the race. I still think the Oscar is Cuaron’s to lose, but the Golden Globes tend to like their Best Drama to win Best Director, so I’m pretty sure Steve McQueen takes this. But, again, watch out for American Hustle.
Chase: Glad I’m not the only one going with Cuaron. Of everything Gravity has going for it, he’s the biggest piece. I see this as a toss-up between him and McQueen, and I wouldn’t be upset about either. Personally, Cuaron wins.
BEST SCREENPLAY – MOTION PICTURE
Spike Jonze, Her
Bob Nelson, Nebraska
Jeff Pope & Steve Coogan, Philomena
John Ridley, 12 Years A Slave
Eric Warren Singer & David O Russell, American Hustle
Rachel: I think we may get a bit of a shock here. I am going for Spike Jonze. The whole issue I have with Hustle is the screenplay. A cluster of top-notch performances does not necessarily make a great film.
Chase: Rachel, we think alike on Hustle. Again, it’s difficult having not seen Her. I look for an outsider here, and I’ll go with Nebraska since I don’t really see it winning anywhere else. A win for it or Her would make me a very happy man. It’s not impossible. The HFPA does some weird things.
David: Oh, a Tarantino-esque consolation prize for Spike Jonze would be fantastic. But I’m not counting on that. Ridley wrote the much better screenplay, but I’m leaning toward American Hustle just based on sheer wattage.
Sean: David, I’m gonna have to agree with you. American Hustle is just too loved not to win something major on Sunday night. If it does take Screenplay, I think Russell will miss out on Director.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – MOTION PICTURE
Alex Ebert, All Is Lost
Alex Heffes, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
Steven Price, Gravity
John Williams, The Book Thief
Hans Zimmer, 12 Years A Slave
David: Assuming they don’t simply go for the biggest names on the list — Williams’s and Zimmer’s work this year is fine, not their best — I’d love to see Steven Price’s evocative, technically brilliant score for Gravity take it. It’s a complex score that has to do so much in a film with so little dialogue (though I suppose you could say the same thing about All Is Lost).
Sean: Gravity‘s score remains one of the best of the year. I honestly can’t even remember a single note from the other scores.
Rachel: Steven Price should and will.
Chase: Maybe it’s that I’m late to the party — I’m feeling like I’m on the outside of everything. Maybe it’s that I’m just being a contrarian this year. I loved Alex Ebert’s huanting work in All is Lost. I’m happy going with that.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG – MOTION PICTURE
“Atlas”, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion)
“Let It Go”, Frozen (Kristen Anderson Lopez, Robert Lopez)
“Ordinary Love”, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom (Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen, Jr., Brian Burton)
“Please Mr Kennedy”, Inside Llewyn Davis (Ed Rush, George Cromarty, T Bone Burnett, Justin Timberlake, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
“Sweeter Than Fiction”, One Chance (Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff)
David: Screw Taylor Swift for keeping Ed Sheeran’s fantastic “I See Fire” (from The Hobbit) off the list. But even with the heavyweight presence of Swift, U2, and Coldplay, this is a two-song race between the light and clever “Kennedy” and the Broadway bombast of “Let it Go.” I have to pick “Let it Go.” I have to. Idina Menzel, you guys.
Sean: Though it sounds like every other power ballad that Idina Menzel has ever sung, I doubt the HFPA will care. Frozen easily wins this.
Chase: I don’t really have a horse in this race. I just wish Inside Llewyn Davis had a better song to offer than the incredibly (and purposefully) goofy “Please Mr. Kennedy.” The music really makes that film, but they’re all covers.
Rachel: “Atlas”…really? A nice soundtrack, for sure, but that is nowhere near the best song on it. “Let It Go”, though my husband says it makes “his head explode every time he hears it.” No accounting for taste, there. And now it’s stuck in my head.
Nathan: Damn… I really should’ve seen some movies this year.
Are we right? Who knows! Find out this Sunday night, on NBC.